Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Secret World

The talented James Kelly sent over a story at Kotaku featuring this intriguing prop/marketing tool.

The postcard leads to the Kingsmouth website, which is itself a marketing effort for "The Secret World", an upcoming conspiracy/supernatural MMO from Funcom. Kingsmouth appears to be one of the central game locations, and given the name (Kingsmouth = Kingsport/Innsmouth) it's role as a classic Lovecraftian small town, complete with dark secrets, underground tunnels, and horrific historical events, should come as no surprise.

The game looks like it could be ten flavors of awesome if, and it's a big if, the dev team is committed to producing a massive amount of content. I like first person shooters as much as anyone, but I think the audience for an occult mystery MMO is looking for more than just the bang bang. They want interesting stories and, dare I say it, actual mysteries. Crafting either is something few online games have had any success at, relying instead on contrived storylines that consist of collecting plot tokens. I'm skeptical, but if they can pull it off I'll happily plunk down my $15 a month.


MMORPG Playa said...

What if some "leet d00d" tries to ninja-loot me while I am sleuthing and collecting some pieces of evidence about some Lovecraftian mystery? Would the MMO still be enjoyable?

Propnomicon said...

@ MMORPG Playa

Solving a mystery storyline would be the one kind of quest activity where instancing is justified, if not required. I'm just not seeing an appearance by "DarkL0rd DrizztSithMastah" being at all conducive to a Lovecraftian atmosphere.

YMMV, of course.

MMORPG Playa said...

Yes, you are exactly correct about instancing being justified so that an austere Lovecraftian atmosphere is not ruined by random interruptions of noobs, leet doods, powerplayers, PKers, and other assorted MMORPG munchkins. But consider this. If instancing (i.e. segregation) would be required most of the time, then that totally contradicts the "massively-multiplayer" social gaming model, does it not? Might as well adopt what is the "LMORPG", Limited Multiplayer Online RPG model. Small local servers. Local Game Masters who host only a select crowd of devoted gamers. This is what Bioware already pioneered with NeverWinterNights, with mixed success. I just honestly don't think a typical MMORPG setup (a la Everquest and WoW or Star Wars Galaxies, all of which I have played for years in total) will do justice to a Lovecraftian game. IMHO, of course.